When I think of my friend Emily,
immediately I sense her amazing strength of spirit.
Something that despite her weakened and pained body,
never faltered & never diminished.
In her heart, if not her physical self
she was so full of life and love.
I think of how despite her own immense suffering,
and the physical pain she was constantly in,
she never dwelt on her own problems.
Somehow she turned her weakness into a strength,
she used what awful experiences she went through,
while ill with ME for most of her life,
to provide others with better understanding,
so that they could ease their suffering
or avoid having to go through the worst
of what she herself so often had to.
She was blessed with the ability
to articulate her thoughts so well,
into words that would go on to impact those within
the ME community in a myriad of positive ways.
Combine her writing gift,
with her immense desire to ease others suffering,
and you have a powerful combination
that culminated in recent years
with the writing of her book -
Severe ME - a guide to living by Emily Collingridge
Written for those with severe ME,
in need of guidance, practical advice
and compassion from someone
who truly knew what they were feeling,
it was a lifeline they desperately needed
yet were unable to find -
until Emily heeded her hearts call to compile it.
Her words and experiences also reaching those within
the medical profession who she hoped,
would gain a better understanding of the patients
with ME in their care
& how best to support their treatment.
When someone we love passes on,
we question why, we feel lost,
immersed in seeking answers
to the question of why they had to go
and why they had to suffer...
But answers as to why Emily
had to go through all she did,
& why she had to leave us at such a young age,
will likely never be answered.
Yet, we do not have to fully understand her death
in order to see how very full
of purpose her life was.
The answers, the meaning, the comfort we seek,
lies in looking at her life, not her passing.
They lie in what she stood for,
how her brave spirit shone through all adversity.
They lie in her example as a human being.
I believe she embodied many qualities
that others strive to reach,
the main one bring selflessness.
She held others close in her heart,
she was so kind & despite her sadness,
she somehow sourced and gave out happiness.
When everything in her own life was dark
she still wanted to be
that source of light for another.
A lantern shinning, to guide someone lost
along a similar pathway to her own.
That is how I shall remember our Em,
always caring & giving,
always putting into practice real ways to help,
that will continue to make
a huge difference to so many.
It is that light
that will be continuing to shine,
to guide and to love.